Saturday, 14 February 2009


Message received from Meanwhile's economic advisor...

Hey Meanwhile,

Did you watch Newsnight on Friday? I highly recommend Paul Mason's 'Road to Wigan Pier' piece. He spends most of it in Stoke listening to locals. The basic message seems to be:
  • Stoke is screwed - but actually they're used to that so relatively it's not so bad.
  • The rest of the country might look like Stoke soon and is in for a big shock
  • Stoke-on-Trent is the future. Whooda thought it?

This is a judiciously-edited and sober piece of the provinces. Mason's Road to Wigan Pier - via Hanley - begins fourteen minutes in. The taxi driver's contribution is excellent.


David said...

Stop with the negativity! You seem to actively seek negative publicity about Stoke, much like a certain newspaper we know. If you look for it you'll find it, so stop looking!
Places like Stoke are always used as fall guys to make some point about urban hell for programs like newsnight - I'd take no notice. Do what I do - just stop reading and watching news - I'm much happier for it.

Meanwhile... said...

Maybe you're right.

However, I'm not sure anybody really needs to look for the negativity - there's plenty to take a swing at, hence the pissy journalism to which you allude.

Perhaps I haven't expressed things too well.

It's difficult not to slip into the lingua franca of these discussions - decline, decay, screwed, hell in a handcart etc.

However, I think what often comes through in the personal testimonies - like that of the taxi driver - is a robust stoicism and evergreen hardiness that's hard to beat.

People round here often seem to be fiercely proud of the place in one breath, scathing in the next - but alongside the frustration that pride is still there, and a sense of community that has died elsewhere.

IMO Brum came out rather worse in a generally sober piece, and the general point that nobody in Stoke was sipping champagne during "the roaring nineties" is important too.